The Brand Identity

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Based in Stockholm, Filip Kleremark is the designer and art director behind the graphic output of esteemed Scandinavian fashion brand Très Bien and its premium eyewear line Sun Buddies. We caught up with him to find out more about his work for both brands, as well as his own studio FOLD and prior experience at agencies such as Wieden + Kennedy and Kurppa Hosk.

The Brand Identity: Hi Filip, how are you?

Filip Kleremark: Hi, all good here thank you! Finally enjoying some sun after a long winter.

TBI: How do you balance your time between FOLD and your work for Très Bien and Sun Buddies?

FK: After working in the industry for fifteen years I set up FOLD as a design studio with my partners, working for various clients and Très Bien/Sun Buddies was one of them. These days I work in-house for these two brands so FOLD is not taking on commercial projects at the moment and is primarily used for side projects when there is spare time.

TBI: How does the experience differ between working in-house and running your own studio?

FK: I can focus more on what I enjoy which is actual hands-on design and not have to deal with company-related tasks such as invoicing, chasing invoices and new clients. I also don’t need to market my work in the same way, which is both good and bad. Maintenance of an Instagram account takes a lot of time and effort and it’s nice to be able to use that time for other things.

“I can focus more on what I enjoy which is actual hands-on design.”

TBI: What has your involvement been in the visual development of the Très Bien and Sun Buddies brands?

FK: When we started working together there was a physical showroom in Paris and we did printed lookbooks for each season. In these times we have to present the collections with a bit more focus on digital solutions. For Sun Buddies I designed the packaging and have done two versions of that. I also redesigned the entire Sun Buddies website. We are currently working on brand development for the Très Bien fashion collections. Season two for the Ateljé collection just launched. Keep your eyes open for something we have been developing for quite a while launching later this summer/fall.

TBI: How challenging is it to work within the constraints of both of these brands and still create concepts and visuals that feel fresh each time?

FK: It’s a constant challenge to come up with new better design concepts for each season. But I believe that we have succeeded with that so far as a team effort.

We constantly raise the bar with the visual output and there is a lot of new brand development that you will see dropping this fall. For Sun Buddies I created a toolbox of colours and typography that is applicable to each season in order to create brand consistency.

“It’s a constant challenge to come up with new better design concepts for each season.”

TBI: What did you take away from previous agencies you worked with, such as Wieden + Kennedy and Kurppa Hosk, that has influenced your work today?

FK: It was a great experience working at these agencies. Living in London and the opportunity to work for Nike at W+K was like a dream come true. It was intense and many late nights but lots of fun. After working at that pace for a few years I felt like I wanted to get back to my design roots and do more brand identity projects.

So that was when I decided to move back to Sweden again and I started working at Kurppa Hosk. I was always into modernism and designers like Wim Crouwel, the style at Kurppa Hosk is pretty much that vibe so it felt like a perfect fit.

But suddenly out of the blue, I got the opportunity to start a company with some old friends of mine. So I just couldn’t say no to that opportunity and jumped aboard. We set up a studio to work with Universal Music and a lot of their artists. My colleagues did the still and moving image work and I was in charge of branding and packaging design. This company later transformed into two entities, Swim Club Films and FOLD.

TBI: And what is your involvement within Swim Club Films?

FK: At the moment I’m just a silent partner. But when we collaborated on shoots I mainly did the art direction and set design for clients like Fila, Absolut Vodka, Adobe and more. We also did some experimental work like the short film Time Flies. A criticism of conformity and a play with gender roles. It is a moving artwork that reflects the oneness of humanity and was nominated in Sveriges Kortfilmfestival and was part of some exhibitions as well.

“I felt like a standard-sized print piece wouldn’t do the images justice.”

TBI: If you could only show one piece of work, what would it be and why?

FK: It’s a tough question. I work primarily with fashion these days and it’s a fast-moving industry. New seasons every year, out with the old, in with the new. But I always aim to make the graphic work stand the test of time and I’m proud of projects that were completed many years ago.

I think the lookbook for Très Bien X Haglöfs would be the one. It doesn’t have much typography at all, instead, I worked with colour coding the pages matching the garments and left them blank. You get a beautiful effect when flipping through the pages. I was able to use several Pantone spot colours which is always a treat when you have the budget. The format was large and the images really stand out and are well presented in that size. I felt like a standard-sized print piece wouldn’t do the images justice.

TBI: From packaging and tote bags to lookbooks and social media campaigns, what’s the most satisfying application to see come to life when working with fashion brands?

FK: Personally there is nothing more satisfying than print. To hold and examine a physical object fresh from the printers can never be replaced by digital images. A book, magazine, poster or shopping bag. There is that tactile quality added to the work.

“To hold and examine a physical object fresh from the printers can never be replaced by digital images.”

TBI: What do you enjoy about Stockholm as a city to work in as a creative?

FK: I actually don’t mind working by myself since it provides calmness and focus so I could basically work anywhere these days. The whole concept of a studio/office has changed. I had this vision of moving out in the country and creating a nice space with large windows and natural surroundings, maybe one day we’ll see. But Stockholm is nice in the summer, beers after work in the sun and close to the water. As far as inspiration I don’t find it that much in Sweden at all. There’s more interesting stuff going on in the big cities London, NY, Paris, Tokyo.

TBI: What do you do to stay organised as a result of working by yourself?

FK: Just have projects running all the time, which usually isn’t a problem since we are quite busy each season.

TBI: What do you find makes for a nice working environment?

FK: Apart from graphic design my main interest is furniture, so I try my best to surround myself with nice objects. Lamps, chairs etc. a friend of mine built a custom desk for me that I designed. Books are also important for me as a graphic designer. I have been collecting design books ever since I started working in this field and they are lovely objects.

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